Old Harbrace

Couldn’t resist sharing this quote from a dilapidated Harbrace College Handbook (copyright 1941) I just happened to rediscover in my office just now when I was looking for something else:

Chapter 33: The Whole Composition

subhead: “Consider the Purpose of Your Composition”

“Writing is never done in a vacuum; the writer is always in a particular situation that involves some purpose– some reason for writing. The clearer the purpose is in the writer’s mind, the more successful the writing is likely to be. The purposes of non-fiction writing are often classified as expressive, informative, and persuasive. Although these purposes are usually combined in an extended piece of writing, one of them almost always predominates.

Expressive writing emphasizes the writer’s feelings and reactions to the world– to people, objects, events, and ideas. Examples: journals, diaries, reminiscences, personal letters.

Informative writing focuses the readers’ attention upon the objective world, the objects, the events, and the ideas themselves rather than upon the writer’s feelings or attitudes about them: news accounts, encyclopedia articles, laboratory and scientific reports, textbooks…”

Persuasive writing aims to sway the reader’s opinions or attitudes, arouse the reader to action, or in some other way bring about a particular response, relying especially on the use of evidence and logical reasoning. The reader’s perception of the writer’s honesty and fair-mindedness is crucial. Examples: a defense lawyer’s summation, advertisements, political speeches, editorials.”

Reading this, pressing my fingers to the yellowed pages, catching a whiff of that familiar, musty smell of rotting wood made me all giddy inside and nostalgic over grammar school.

So, which category does the content of your blog MOST fall under? In other words, what is the purpose of your blog (life)?


4 thoughts on “Old Harbrace

  1. Ugh! Well by the standards of Harbrace…I’m all of the above at the same time. I’ll be expressive one moment, informative the next, and then finish off with a slew of persuasive paragraphs…and I don’t even really know where that style of writing was picked up for me :\

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